Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Why Blog, Why?

The only reason for having a blog, is for posting information about the future, the present, or the past. Therefore, if nothing is happening: the blog is dead. The only other reasons for a dead blog is the feeling of valuelessness or pointlessness OR a simple absence of the writer. Now you will have the pleasure of witnessing that last possibility.

Farewell humans, and I will speak to all you drones again in about two and a half years.

Friday, August 31, 2012

The Opinion - on ads

There is nothing wrong with an ad. I will throw it out there right now. Ads are a good way to make money without directly charging a user. In truth it can be a wonderful form of business. But I’ll get to that later.
Ads, currently, are intrusive, annoying, and totally out of place (for the most part). People don’t click on them, and they don’t like seeing them. They often distract from of whatever the user is trying to do. The owner of the page gets paid based on number of clicks or number of views depending on the agreement but truly I’ve never seen a banner ad I was happy I clicked on, And that’s only on the rare occasion that I actually click on a banner ad (besides those nice Google Chrome ones, I love those, but it may be because I already use Google Chrome…). Flashy ads also take up quite a bit of RAM and processing power, slowing down older machines. Anyway, the point is, internet ads generally don’t work and are done WRONG. I emphasize heavily on ‘wrong’ because there IS a wrong and a right way to do ads. The right way isn’t to do away with ads either.
Ads can and do have a usefulness to them. They bring us things we haven’t seen before. They introduce us to something new and interesting (hopefully) and open a new path in our minds. This even happens as the current ad structure is. Although it can be rare, ads introduce us to many things that can be of use to us. This is the point of ads (to the consumer/user it is). This is why we still look at ads when they seem well designed or interesting.
Google has done a good thing, they have tried to bring the world relevant ads. In Google Search they are very good at this. I often find myself clicking their ads simply because they’re exactly what I am looking for. In other places, though, it’s not quite as refined. Most (some aren’t) ads that are picked by Google to be relevant on any given website are not as interesting as they’re supposed to be. I would bet that Google’s algorithms for finding relevant ads is based on the text and subjects within the page. This is as much as they can do to find relevance and it’s really a good strategy. The problem is, with the text and subjects on any given page Google finds ads that would have to do with the information on that page. In other words, they bring the user ads that don’t show them anything new, because they’re on a page that already has the information. I can certainly see a problem.
The right way to do ads. See this from both sides, people want new and interesting. Businesses paying for the ads want views, clicks and publicity. Therefore, to make a truly successful ad, one must bring the user somethingnew and interesting enough that they will see, click and be happy they clicked. When a person is happy about something they tell their friends about it,publicizing it, which satisfies the desires of the business who issued the ad. This is a win win scenario. The trick is for the Relevant Ad Company to realize how to make this happen. My suggestion is that Google (being a very VERY large Relevant Ad Company) bring ads to a page based on the subject and text of the page. With the subject and text of that page (and anything else they know about the user) they figure out what would be interesting and/or new to the user. With the absolutely massive amount of people and data from those people that they have under their belt it shouldn’t be too hard to create a system that figured out what people liked based on what they were currently discovering (and what they’d discovered and searched for in the past). Many people use some type of ad-blocking program, relevant ads would remove the need for ad-blocker on said sites, empowering businesses and improving the user experience.
And so, I send out a call to Google: Create more relevant ads based on what a user would want to see. Others will follow.
Whether they find this or not truly relevant ads will happen in due time anyway (hopefully) simply because systems and technologies continually evolve. Someone within Google will and probably has already figured out what I’ve figured out and they will call for it to be implemented. On that day we will begin to have a happier, more prosperous, internet. Until then, use adblocker.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

I'm concerned for app.net

As the first real post of this blog I’ll point out that I seem to write much better when I’m tired. “writing better” can be defined as “I get good ideas” I think, so essentially I’m saying I get good ideas when I’m tired. Consequently, the day after I will probably rewrite my entire post because I’ve thought through it clearly… Maybe that is what will happen today. I don’t know but I think it’s all a charade.
App.net is a smallish website that is growing rapidly in the tech world community. It’s set out to be an alternative to twitter and Facebook as a microblogging service. Membership currently costs money ($50 dollars to be exact for a normal account) rather than have advertisements. The idea of paying money for a webservice has never appealed to me because I’ve never put money into one. There are very few nonstatic things that I couldn’t hold that I’ve payed real money for (one of those being Minecraft). Now, there’s nothing wrong with paying real money for something virtual, don’t get me wrong. But a website that charges you to be able to talk to your friends just won’t work. People won’t buy it. Maybe this is the reason app.net has chosen the 50 dollar price to compensate for the few members but come on. Can’t there be a better way? Unobtrusive ads possibly? Or maybe even a free/donation based service similar to Wikipedia (unlikely but possible).
App.net is a terrible name for a social service. Absolutely terrible. It sounds like a site to go and find and possibly use great apps, the name implies nothing to do with social communication. For this reason alone app.net will lose many many prospects of becoming a huge deal to “normal people”. Sorry, but it’s the truth.
Still, I thank you app.net, you’re calling for a needed change.